Man gets five-year RI for blasphemy on social media

Updated October 18, 2019

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In a first-of-its-kind conviction in the country as claimed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a special court for cybercrime offences on Thursday awarded five-year rigorous imprisonment to a man for posting blasphemous material on social media. — AFP/File
In a first-of-its-kind conviction in the country as claimed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a special court for cybercrime offences on Thursday awarded five-year rigorous imprisonment to a man for posting blasphemous material on social media. — AFP/File

LAHORE: In a first-of-its-kind conviction in the country as claimed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a special court for cybercrime offences on Thursday awarded five-year rigorous imprisonment to a man for posting blasphemous material on social media.

Sajid Ali was charged for posting “sacrilegious, blasphemous and derogatory material against Hazrat Umar (R.A)” on Facebook in 2017. Initially, police of Bahawalnagar’s Chishtian tehsil registered a case which was later transferred to the FIA Cyber Crime Circle Lahore over the issue of jurisdiction.

FIA Prosecutor Munam Bashir Chaudhry filed challan before the court for cybercrime offence before the convict was indicted. The prosecutor produced 12 witnesses including FIA Assistant Director Naeem Zafar who also submitted his technical analysis report.

The court awarded the sentence to the suspect under section 11 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and 298-A of the Pakistan Penal Code which deals with the use of derogatory remarks against holy personalities of Islam.

In addition to the jail term, the court also imposed a fine of Rs20,000 on the suspect.

The court observed that there must be an awareness campaign by the government to educate people on cybercrime laws as they were new to society.

The prosecutor told Dawn that it was the first conviction in the country under the new cybercrime laws on charges of posting blasphemous material against Sahaba (companions) of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on social media.

The PML-N government had enacted the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 that criminalises activities such as sending text messages, online criticism of religion, government actions and the armed forces.

Sana’s son-in-law: The Lahore High Court on Thursday admitted for regular hearing a petition seeking cancellation of bail granted to the son-in-law of former law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan in a murder case.

The bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, announced a reserved verdict and issued admit notice to Ahmad Sheharyar, the son-in-law of Mr Khan, facing trial in a narcotics case.

Shabbir Butt, complainant of the case, and prosecution moved the petition challenging an order of a sessions court wherein pre-arrest bail was granted to Sheharyar.

The complainant submitted that Sheharyar, Tariq and Khalid killed his brother in 2016. He said the trial court allowed bail to the respondent ignoring facts of the case. He asked the court to cancel the bail of the respondent and order arrest of the respondent.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2019